Centre-West Bengal Chief Secretary Tug of War: Bandyopadhyay resigns, joins Team Mamata
The tussle between Centre and West Bengal’s Chief Minister doesn’t seem to taper off. In a new turn of events, Ms. Banerjee said on Monday that the state’s Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has rejected his three-month extension and has retired from his post. He has now joined team Mamata as her chief adviser. The state home secretary H K Dwivedi has been appointed as the new state chief secretary, and BP Gopalika is the new state home secretary.
During a news conference Banerjee said, “Today, Alapan Bandyopadhyay has retired as the chief secretary. He has been made the chief adviser to the Chief Minister. He will start working in his new post from tomorrow for a tenure of three years. H K Dwivedi has been made the new state chief secretary.”
The tussle began when on Friday, Banerjee had skipped a review meeting called by Narendra Modi on Cyclone Yaas while he was in state post the natural calamity. Within hours, the Centre recalled Alapan to Delhi to serve under the Union government. On May 24, his three month extension was approved by Centre on State’s proposal until August 31. Alapan was scheduled to retire on May 31.
On Monday, Centre sent a letter to Bandyopadhyay asking him to report to North Block on Tuesday. A second letter soon followed after Banerjee wrote to PM Modi that Bandyopadhyay won’t be released to work under Centre.
The war of words hence ensued between Union ministers and Banerjee who called out the Centre for engaging in “vendetta politics”. The Chief Minister had said, “This is vendetta. I have never seen such cruel behavior. Just because they want to attack the Chief Minister, they attack the Chief Secretary. You have added insult to injury. There is no consultation. Why? Because you lost? Because you don’t like Mamata Banerjee. The Centre may not be aware that he has superannuated and his services are not available for the Centre. I have decided we need his service for the Covid pandemic. For Covid and for Cyclone Yaas, he must continue his service to the poor, the state, the country, the affected people.”